Upcoming Exhibitions


Engineers of Illumination: A Projected Light Piece by Optic Flare
Engineers of Illumination: A Projected Light Project by Optic Flare

March 6, 2016 – December 6, 2015

Every night from dusk until midnight

For the duration of CHS's exhibition City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World's Fair (Feb. 22–Dec. 6, 2015), this series of artist-based, projected-light installations honors the stunning achievements of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). Six light-based artists will show an after-dark artwork in the CHS gallery's front and side windows, each running for approximately six weeks. The installations can be viewed from Mission Street or Annie Alley.

Optic Flare is a collective of experimental media artists with significant experience in creating light-based installations and performances in public spaces.

Engineers of Illumination is supported by a grant from the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District.

The City Luminous: Spectral Canopy Variation
A projected light piece by Kerry Laitala
May 14, 2015 – June 28, 2015

In her installation, Laitala pays tribute to the innovative lighting design of the PPIE. A pastiche of archival material from the fair intercut with expressionistic images that expand upon the fair's stunning lighting effects, The City Luminous provides an imaginative view into the past inspired by Walter D'Arcy Ryan, the fair's illumination engineer, and the avant-garde dancer Loie Fuller, who raised funds to preserve the Palace of Fine Arts when the fair ended.

The City Luminous is funded by a third Special Projects Grant from the Princess Grace Foundation, the California Historical Society, and Maurice Kanbar, with archival images provided by the California Historical Society, Donna Ewald Huggins, the Exploratorium, Craig Baldwin, and the Internet Archive. Access to an original Star Maiden was provided by the Oakland Museum of California.

Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA
Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environmental Workshop, July 4, 1966. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania
Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA
Driftwood City, Sea Ranch, CA. Experiments in Environmental Workshop, July 4, 1966. Pictured (left to right) Lawrence Halprin, Anna Halprin, and architect Charles Moore. Courtesy Lawrence Halprin Collection, The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania
Coming to our gallery in January 2016

Experiments in Environment: The Halprin Workshops, 1966–1971

How do you perceive the environment?

In the summer of 1966, renowned American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin (1916–2009) and his wife, dance pioneer Anna Halprin (born 1920), began a series of experimental, cross-disciplinary workshops in northern California that offered a new approach to environmental awareness. Drawn from architecture, ecology, music, cinematography, graphics, choreography, and lighting, Experiments in Environment brought together artists, dancers, architects, and environmental designers in avant-garde environmental arts experiences.

From June 27 to July 22 that summer, they engaged multi-sensory activities in alternating environments according to loosely structured, written guidelines—from movement sessions, to blindfolded awareness walks, to collective building projects, to choreographed journeys in urban plazas, parks, and rail cars. As an article in Progressive Architecture magazine described, "They built their own ‘city' on the shore of the ocean and recreated the impact and atmosphere of a metropolis in a multimedia presentation. Dancers became architects and architects became dancers." The series continued in 1968 and 1971.

Experiments in Environment: The Halprin Workshops, 1966–1971 presents to the West Coast public for the first time original photographs, films, drawings, scores, and other archival documentation of the workshops, which were staged in the streets of San Francisco, on the shores and cliffs of Sea Ranch (a coastal community designed by Lawrence), and on the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. In an observation reflective of Sixties culture, Anna Halprin said, "I want art and structures which express individual creativity and collective living. I want all the personal responses of my company members to be evident in themselves and also to unite into a communal experience."

Organized by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago

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